Why dont subtitles do this?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Butch C, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    Case in point...THE BYCICLE THIEF...the entire movie is translated into english and subtitled...fine...so why dont they translate monetary values using the exchange rate at the time the movie is set?

    Theres a scene when the father and son are eating at the resturaunt and the boy is enviously eyeing a family eating spaghetti. The father says "You need to make 5,000,000 lira a month to eat like that" Well I dont know about you but that scene is lost on me...How much in dollars is 5,000,000 in post WWII Italy?

    Does this bother anyone else...I mean if your translating Italian Slang and phrases that dont really translate the same into english why not give me a dollar conversian in parenthessies?

    Even with english language movies...how mutch better would Angelas Ashes or the Full Monte be if I freaking knew how small the sums of money that they were struggeling to put together were? I cant relate to a story of a man trying to scrape together some cash if I dont know how little (or large) the sum actually is.

    OK with the full monte I could do the conversions myself but with Angelas or Bycicle i would have to consult a economic historian to figure this out.

    Waddaya think? Am I off base, would this ruin the intent of the film, or is this an idea whose time has come?
     
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I'll ask you this Butch:
    You see a movie set in France or Russia and the subtitles say "I'll do the assassination job for $1,600,000". Wouldn't you take that to mean that he is being paid for in US currency? You might complain that he should be paid in his native currency.

    Of course, the ideal solution would be to have the subtitle as "5,000,000 lire ($2,428US)". But that could be a little confusing to read in the timeframe of a subtitle (or maybe not).

    Does anyone remember when Comedy Central's The Daily Show would report domestic box office grosses in Italian Lire? It was way to cool to see movies making billions.
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Right....as Rain [​IMG]
    Frankly I think we should be fighting the battle of getting companies to translate songs (song lyrics are not typically included with scripts sent for translation) before anything else.
    I've REALLY been trying to appriciate Bollywood movies lately, and it's very hard to do so without subs for half the movie
     
  5. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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  6. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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  7. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  8. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I've noticed on the French subtitles for Region 1 DVDs, when a distance is discussed in miles it is converted to kilometers in the subtitles.
     
  9. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Using the latest in digital effects, filmmakers in countries outside the US should be required to take all the Rupees, Marks, Euros, Pesos, etc in their films and replace them with digital dollars and US currency to avoid confusion.
    When filming, the director should require the actors to do two takes for any scene mentioning money, one that mentions the original currency, and the other with 'these valuable, hard earned US Dollars!!' as the actors are suddenly overcome with zealous glee.
    This film has been modified from the original version to include the viable currency in the Global Marketplace.
    j/k
    Joseph
     
  10. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    I wish more studios thought the way Butch does! This has long been a pet peeve of mine. I recently encounted such a problem while watching "Insomnia."

     
  11. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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  12. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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  13. cafink

    cafink Producer

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  14. Steve Enemark

    Steve Enemark Second Unit

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    Funny, I just watched Criterion's The Vanishing tonight, and a character clearly gives a distance in kilometers, but the subtitles state it in miles.
     
  15. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Let's face it, movies (or books for that matter) don't always translate perfectly into other languages. I have a friend who saw Duck Soup in Germany. There's a funny line where someone looks out the window and sees tanks coming and says "Tanks" and the reply is "Your Welcome". In German, of course, the line is "Panzers", and my friend got lots of weird looks for laughing at that part.
    Another good example is Monty Python & the Holy Grail where the lines are back-translated from Japanese.
    Then again, I don't know that there's that much more lost in the translation across languages, than cultural differences or for that matter, generational differences. Lots of older American movies have lines or situations I don't always understand fully. Hell, it took me many viewings of The Wrong Trousers to realize that braces meant suspenders, and I still don't understand what it means when they call each other "Chuck". Maybe they should subtitle films from England. [​IMG]
     
  17. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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  18. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    Hey I started a thread that lasted more than 4 posts!
     
  19. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Agent

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    I've wondered about this for a long time too ... how about making your own liner notes? You would need access to a resource for currency conversion on the dates specified, and another for inflation. Anyone have any ideas on where to get this info?

    - Jeff
     
  20. Richard WWW

    Richard WWW Stunt Coordinator

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    There's also the question of having to make different translations for British, Australian, American, and Canadian audiences. Why is a Brit going to want to see people in France talking American dollars? I personally, don't have a problem with the mention of foreign currencies in foreign films.
     

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